Rise like a phoenix

The Rise like a Phoenix project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Mobility fund. We are implementing it in collaboration with Inăltarea Sfintei Cruci because they share similarities with us, being sheltered from the rest of the world and facing issues related to racism. However, they differ from us as they are closer to the war in Ukraine. During discussions with Romanian youths, we identified these similarities and differences. Our aim is to foster a better understanding among ourselves by exploring various aspects, including different cultures (traditions, music, art, etc.), racism, language, education systems, different church rites, the effects of war, and the contrast between living in a forest and a city. Our ultimate goal is to visit Romania (Cluj-Napoca), engage in discussions, share experiences, and work together. We seek to experience a different culture, explore new ways of life, and spend nights in the forest under the stars, something unfamiliar to us in Malta, where forests are scarce. We wish to address topics such as equality, ensuring equal opportunities for both genders in education and employment. We acknowledge that some individuals are born disadvantaged, but we believe that education can bring about positive change. Additionally, we want to discuss and combat racism, a concern in Malta due to the presence of illegal immigrants. We advocate for fair treatment, decent housing, and employment opportunities for these individuals. Our vision is to contribute to positive change, recognizing that racism is a global issue, but as the future generation, we can make a difference. The Romanians plan to collaborate on online activities to address these issues collectively.


The project aims to explore inclusion and equity, focusing on the Romas in Romania and foreigners, especially those arriving by boat, in Malta. Both groups, despite being from different backgrounds, are sometimes seen as of a lower class. This project provides an opportunity to learn about equal rights and understand each other better through planned activities. It also offers a platform for continued discussions, cooperation, and learning experiences between the two groups beyond the exchange visit.

We will benefit

We want to live in a place where there is no racism, sexism and people have their human rights respected. We want to come on this Exchange to see the changes we can all make. We want to be part of the change. Hopefully , after this Exchange we will become better youths, who lead by example. We are a Christian group and this means we have our values that we like. We value friendship and try to help each other out. Although we will be experiencing new things like being on a trip away from our parents, for the first time , for some of us, I am sure we will always remember it for the future. It will help us become stronger in our character by being away from our parents, discussing the current issue of war, the different church rites, foreigners living in our countries, and importantly inclusion and anti-racism etc. Our preparations will include discussions , team building activities etc . We are sure to benefit a lot from this experience and who knows this can help us decide on what we would like to become when we grow up


The project benefits both groups by facilitating mutual learning and understanding. Weekly meetings cover diverse topics such as racism, LGBTQI+ acceptance, acceptance for Arabs and Roma people, and stepping out of comfort zones. The project also fosters connections between groups from different European regions, promoting cultural exchange. Differences in geographical and cultural aspects, such as Malta’s island mentality and Romania’s more open approach, contribute to a richer understanding within the European Union. Participants will document their experiences through photos and videos, sharing them with their communities and interested NGOs upon return.

Impact beyond

After the Youth mobility exchange, we as ABLAZE Youths and the Inăltarea Sfintei Cruci, will work hard to make our project visible both in our community and also on social platforms. We believe that by sharing this experience with others we will be able to influence other youths in taking similar opportunities to enhance their quality of life. Since we are constantly on social media we feel that sharing our experience and personal growth on; Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok is the ideal way to reach other youths both Maltese, Romanian and other nationalities. A good way to reach out to our community is by attending social gatherings in our locality and talk about our project to the people of our locality. Talking to the local council especially to the member in charge of youths in our locality and in our secondary schools about our experience will also help them understand and increase their interest in our project and the ABLAZE Youth group and the Romanian Group. Both groups will make sure to take photos and videos to document our learning outcomes and then be able to share them with our parents and other interested NGOs on our return during an event which we will organise when we come back together with the Romanian group by organising a Zoom session with them during the event. All participants will have an active role in the activities, during the organisation stage and also during the activities and evaluations.

Towards Inclusion and Diversion Strategy

The project’s highlight involves a visit to a Roma camp to understand the challenges faced by minorities. Drawing parallels with the situation of African migrants in Malta, the participants aim to address racism and fear through a two-year formation period. Seminars, workshops, and sessions with Romanians will focus on equality, discrimination, racism, and coexistence despite differences. The groups plan to invite foreigners living in Malta and Romanian university students to share perspectives and foster understanding.


We would like to measure the effectiveness of this formation exercise, in order to ensure an evidence-based outcome and therefore be able to give future students formation sessions of greater value. By formation, I here mean insights on how to be more open and inclusive, and less prejudicial toward different Others. Research publications may result from the data obtained, and all this information will be specified in the consent forms provided to participants, as per the attached documents. This research shall be rooted in the Practical Theological tradition. Hence, the researchers are simply practitioners (group leaders) and they only become researchers at those brief data-gathering stages prior to, and after, the formation sessions and exchange (Cf. Ward 2017).

We are proposing to conduct the following mixed-methods research, which shall be described in detail below:
a) Questionnaires to measure the success of the formation period
b) Qualitatively studying the reflective diaries of the leaders (our own notes)
c) At the end of the exchange, we shall hold evaluation seminars in the form of focus groups. These shall be reported qualitatively.

Dr Luke J. Buhagiar (Department of Public Policy, University of Malta) agreed to be consulted for the building of the survey, to be consulted/help with the analysis of the quant. and qual. data obtained to ensure a level of objectivity, and with the writing of any publications that may result from this study.